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A review of the film on the waterfront directed by elia kazan in 1954

The authentic-looking, powerful film is concerned with the problems of trade unionism, corruption and racketeering. And it is set on New York's oppressive waterfront docks, where dock workers struggled for work, dignity, and to make ends meet under the control of hard-knuckled, mob-run labor unions that would force them to submit to daily 'shape-ups' by cruel hiring bosses.

  1. Cobb rules the waterfront with an iron fist. The only arithmetic he ever got was hearing the referee count up to ten.
  2. Amazing work from all involved.
  3. Father Barry asks the rejected men who have been denied work.
  4. His conscience stirred, Terry decides to testify against Friendly, but soon realises that he is up against a truly dangerous opponent...

To add realism, it was filmed over 36 days on-location in Hoboken, New Jersey in the cargo holds of ships, workers' slum dwellings, the bars, the littered alleys, and on the rooftops. The low-budget film brought a depressing and critical, but much-needed message about society's ills to the forefront, and was hailed by most critics.

The film's morality tale of corruption ends with its ultimate defeat and the saving of the community by a morally-redeemed martyr a common man with a conscience. With a naturalistic acting style, Marlon Brando portrayed Terry Malloy, an inarticulate, struggling, brutish hero and small-time, washed-up ex-boxer who took a regrettable fall in the ring.

Now an errand boy and 'owned' by the union boss, he is unaware of his own personal power. But eventually because of torment over his actions and his realization of new choices in life, he joins forces with a tough-minded, courageous and crusading priest Malden and a loving, angelic blonde woman Sainta sister of one of the victims, to seek reform and challenge the mob.

The political and criminal context of the film's background and history are extremely important.

On the Waterfront

The similarity between Terry Malloy's whistle-blowing testimony against his own corrupt group paralleled director Elia Kazan's self-justifying admissions before the House Un-American Activities Commission HUAC two years earlier in 1952 as a 'friendly' witness regarding his one-time membership in the Communist party and the naming of others who were sympathizers.

Kazan attempted to vindicate himself politically with this semi-autobiographical film - the justification of naming names 'squealing' to expose the evils of corrupt unions, and the suggestion of sympathy advocated for squealers. The film's story was based on New York Sun now defunct newspaper reporter Malcolm Johnson's expose, found in a series of 24 articles called Crime on the Waterfront. The series chronicled actual dockside events, labor racketeering in New York's dockyards, and corrupt practices, and won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

  • Combining the elements of the conventional gangster film with an almost documentary-style approach to social realism, the film evokes a bleak, sinister world in which ordinary dockworkers are brutally oppressed and abused by corrupt unions controlled by unscrupulous mobsters;
  • Now can't you see that?

It revealed rampant bribery, extortions, kickbacks to union officials, payoffs, theft, union-sponsored loan sharks, murder, and the mob's tyrannical influence on New York's waterfront.

It had a similar plot to the 1954 film - the setting of a Brooklyn waterfront with a militant trade unionist hero struggling with mobsters in the dockworkers union. Arthur Miller was replaced by novelist and scriptwriter Budd Schulberg another 'friendly' witness before HUACwho worked in collaboration with Kazan.

The film's plot was taken from Schulberg's own original story - which reworked all the previous material and also dropped the Communists in the plot.

On the Waterfront emphasized the waterfront's strict code of "D and D. Deaf and Dumb" -- keeping quiet instead of 'ratting out' or testifying as a 'friendly' witness before a Congressional waterfront crime commission against bullying union boss Johnny Friendly an interesting and ironic choice of namesportrayed by Lee J.

Boris Kaufman's gritty black and white cinematography was singled out as superior, and the film received a phenomenal number of Academy Award nominations - twelve. It won eight Academy Awards including: Three of its other four nominations were supporting acting nods for a total of four: Best Supporting Actor Lee J.

This was the only film that wasn't a musical for which Leonard Bernstein ever provided the soundtrack. The Story Following the credits, drumbeats accompany a scene at the New York waterfront, where a large ocean liner is docked.

The angry gangster union boss, Johnny Friendly Lee J. Cobb who callously rules this section of the waterfront, walks up the gangplank with his mobster entourage from the office shack of the Longshoreman's local Union.

Slow-witted, illiterate waterfront bum Terry Malloy Marlon Brando follows behind, surviving as a lackey by running odd jobs and errands for Johnny and doing strong-arm work. He is asked to lure to the rooftop of his tenement building a young dockworker Joey Doyle, one of the informant union workers who is planning to cooperate with crime investigators by testifying before the Waterfront Crime Commission against gangsters who tyrannically control the docks.

Terry shouts to fellow pigeon-lover Joey in his apartment, in the opening lines of the film. He unwittingly becomes a pawn in setting a trap to murder his fellow longshoreman dockworker: Hey, I got one of your birds. I recognize him by the band. He flew into my coop. Terry keeps a review of the film on the waterfront directed by elia kazan in 1954 in coops on his tenement apartment's rooftop, and soon convinces potential informant Joey to meet him on the roof. When he looks up to the rooftop, he sees the dark figures of two men standing there.

Instead of joining Joey on the roof, he releases his pigeon into the air, and then walks down the street to a seedy bar, Johnny Friendly's BAR. Charley, who works as Johnny Friendly's smart and crooked lawyer and as chief lieutenant, is flanked by two of Friendly's goons.

In shock, Terry witnesses Joey's murder, as he is hurled from the rooftop to his death many stories below with a bloodcurdling scream. One of the thugs coldly states: He thought he was gonna sing for the Crime Commission. I thought they was gonna talk to him. I thought they was gonna talk to him and get him to dummy up.

  • At Charley's bidding, Terry lures one of the dockworkers onto the roof of his tenement, from which he plunges to his death;
  • Big Mac good-naturedly comments on Terry's lack of education;
  • It's nice, easy work, you see;
  • In shock, Terry witnesses Joey's murder, as he is hurled from the rooftop to his death many stories below with a bloodcurdling scream;
  • To add realism, it was filmed over 36 days on-location in Hoboken, New Jersey in the cargo holds of ships, workers' slum dwellings, the bars, the littered alleys, and on the rooftops;
  • In the street, a shocked crowd gathers around Joey's body.

I figured the worst they was gonna do was lean on him a little bit. He wasn't a bad kid, that Joey. Two of the thugs make a joke about the 'squealer' who has threatened to 'sing' to the crime commission and break the waterfront's unspoken code to be 'D and D' Deaf and Dumb: Maybe he could sing but he couldn't fly! In the street, a shocked crowd gathers around Joey's body. One of the neighbors, Mrs.

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Collins Anne Hegira knows this was no accident: Eight hundred and ninety-one men at three bucks a head, that's, uh, - twenty-six seventy-three. We got a banana boat at 46 tomorrow. If we could pull a walk-out, it might mean a few bucks from the shippers. Them bananas go bad in a hurry. As a man in his 30s who is exploited like a pawn by others, ex-prizefighter and has-been Terry knows that he owes his waterfront career and livelihood to Johnny Friendly, head of the racketeers, and to his brother Charley, although he was forced to take a 'fall' in a boxing fight.

But he also realizes that he is dull-witted and inarticulate, and not even capable of accurately counting a wad of bills. Big Mac good-naturedly comments on Terry's lack of education: The only arithmetic he ever got was hearing the referee count up to ten.

But Terry is hot-tempered, and reacts harshly to the criticism. Charley excuses his brother's a-typical behavior: You know how he is. He exaggerates the thing. Just too much Marquis of Queensbury.

It softens 'em up. He also calmly rationalizes to Terry about the death of Joey Doyle - a waterfront dockworker who might have threatened the entire business: When I was sixteen, I had to beg for work in the hold. I didn't work my way up out of there for nuthin'. You know, takin' over this local took a little doin'. There's some pretty rough fellas in the way. They gave me this he displays an ugly scar on his neck to remember them by. And that's just for openers.

We got the fattest piers in the fattest harbor in the world. Everything moves in and out - we take our cut. You don't suppose I can afford to be boxed out of a deal like this, do ya? A deal I sweated and bled for, on account of one lousy little cheese-eater, that Doyle bum, who thinks he can go squealin' to the Crime Commission?

Terry is given "a present from your Uncle Johnny," a fifty-dollar bill, and then promised a prime work area at the docks at the next morning's shape-up: It's nice, easy work, you see.

You check in and you goof off on the coffee bags. Now don't forget it. Boy, they sure got it made, huh? Flyin' around like crazy. Raisin' gobs of squabs.

The faint sound of ship's whistle brings Terry back to reality and he hurries to the docks, where hundreds of men mill around on the pier. What are you, a wise guy?

I'm poorer now than when I started. The commission is "getting ready to hold public hearings on waterfront crime and underworld infiltration of longshore unions. I don't know nothin', I ain't seen nothin', I'm not sayin' nothin'. At the 8 am whistle announcing the shape-up at the pier entrance for 5 gangs and 100 banana carriersBig Mac calls forward men to work for the day. Terry Malloy is favored and one of the first to be called.

From the side, Edie and Father Barry watch, as he tells her: I don't know how much I can do, but I'll never find out unless I come down here and take a good look for myself.

Terry meets the sister of the murdered union worker when he grabs a tab that Edie's father had seen first. When she wrestles with him for the tab, he first teases her, withholding the tab from her.

But when he learns she's "Joey Doyle's sister," he gives her the working tab. She gives it to her humiliated father so he can work.

  • The film features an early Marlon Brando, who delivers one of his all-time finest performances as morally-conflicted longshoreman Terry Malloy;
  • Now don't forget it.

Father Barry asks the rejected men who have been denied work: Is this all you do, just take it like this?. What about your union?

At work, Charley finds Terry lying comfortably on a pile of coffee bags while reading a photo magazine filled with bikini-clad women.